Love Without Gun Control by M. Christian
Available from Renaissance eBooks
I know M.Christian primarily as an author of erotica—an astonishingly versatile writer who swings from gay to lesbian, from contemporary to science fiction, from cyberpunk to humor, without missing a beat. Anyone who's not familiar with his energy and creativity in the erotic realm should get a copy of Coming Together Presents M. Christian (and support Planned Parenthood at the same time). Until he sent me a copy of his new collection Love Without Gun Control, I didn't fully appreciate the darker side of his imagination.
The title story of this collection paints a hilarious but nevertheless chilling picture of a society in which everyone carries and uses deadly weapons—all the time. He cleverly spins out the implications of such a scenario, in particular the difficulties it poses for lovers.
Equally funny, grotesque and scary is “Buried & Dead”, a tale of political ambition amid the zombie apocalypse, overflowing with rotting flesh and dangling entrails. “Constantine in Love”, the impeccably satirical final tale in the collection, will also make you laugh, though not without a grimace, as the unflappable Constantine Foote, polymath, wine connoisseur, seducer and con artist, desperately chases the woman of his dreams.
These are the lighter tales. Most of the other stories in Love Without Gun Control will leave you queasy, terrified, or both. “Needle Taste” portrays a bleak future in which a vicious serial killer has the mass appeal of a rock star. “Hush Hush” unfolds like a nightmare in the narrow alleys of Beijing, as an adventurer watches one person after another being robbed of speech. In “Wanderlust”, a man cursed by a jealous goddess is forced to live out his days driving his Mustang from one lonely gas station to the next. “Shallow Fathoms” is pure horror, fueled by the repulsive fascination of madness. “Nothing So Dangerous” builds an intricately detailed dystopia of universal surveillance and arbitrary detention, in which trust is the most perilous thing of all.
I've always know that M.Christian was a master at evoking emotion. The characters in his erotic tales live and breathe, each a distinct individual, struggling to make sense of love, sex and gender. I didn't realize his talent for plunging the reader into darkness, for spinning tales that are simultaneously frightening and haunting.
Love Without Gun Control may well make you uncomfortable. I couldn't read more than one or two stories without needing some relief. When I finally finished, though, I felt like applauding. If you enjoy being scared—and challenged—I highly recommend the book.